Universal access to infertility care

Making infertility care available and accessible for a much larger part of the world population might not sound like the best idea. However, in this talk Willem Ombelet explains why in reality it actually is a very good idea.

This talk was given at TEDxUHasselt 2012.

About Willem Ombelet

Willem Ombelet (MD, PhD) is the founder of the Genk Institute for Fertility Technology. He became the Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the ZOL Hospitals in Genk in 1999.

In 2010 Willem Ombelet co-founded The Walking Egg non-profit organisation, which strives to implement accessible infertility programmes in resource-poor countries. In co- operation with the ESHRE Special Task Force on "Developing countries and infertility" and the WHO, it gathers medical, social and economical scientists and experts along with artists. The project aims to raise awareness surrounding childlessness in resource-poor countries and to make infertility care in all its aspects, including assisted reproductive technologies, available and accessible for a much larger part of the population. While recognising the importance of prevention and education, Willem Ombelet believes that for reasons of social justice infertility treatment in developing countries requires greater attention at national and international levels. Together with Koen Vanmechelen he has since long transgressed the boundaries of conventional medical practice to explore unexplored dimensions and affinities with other medical disciplines as well as with the world of art.

Willem Ombelet has been the President of the Flemish Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (VVOG) from 2001 until 2004. Since 2002 he is the chairman of the Scientific Committee of the VVOG. Until 2008 he was the editor of "Gyna•keia", the official journal of the Flemish Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. In 2009 he became the "Editor in Chief" of the International scientific journal Facts, Views & Vision in ObGyn. He is also a board member of the Belgian College of Reproductive Medicine and the Belgian Society of Reproductive Medicine.

Since 2006, Willem Ombelet is the co-ordinator of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology Special Task Force on "Developing countries and infertility", which aims to encourage more and affordable infertility diagnosis and treatment in developing countries.